A little bit about me

Many people including patients ask me what got me into this field? Why I chose physical therapy over something else in the healthcare field? And the most frequently asked question…do you like what you do? I can’t even count how many times someone has asked me one or all of these questions, but my answers never change, especially the last one.

Ever since I can remember I knew I wanted to do something in the healthcare field. I didn’t always know that physical therapy would be my calling. When I was younger I always said I wanted to deliver babies. If anyone asked me that is what I was going to do. It wasn’t until later when I found out exactly what had to be done when I decided that just wasn’t for me! That didn’t switch my focus because I wanted to be a helper. I wanted to be someone that could make a difference in someone’s life. Now, there are many ways to do that outside of healthcare, but the body just always fascinated me.

I can still remember in high school I wanted to take an anatomy and physiology class. I was a B/C student. I even had gotten a D in a few classes. I wasn’t a bad student, I just never really applied myself unless it was in something I enjoyed to learn about. You could tell in my grades, math and science were always my strong suit. History and language arts not so much. I will never forget when I signed up for the anatomy class and the teacher who was going to be in the class called me to her class room during a study hall. She asked me why I signed up for the class. I explained to her that I wanted to learn more about the body and I planned on being in the healthcare field at some point and this would help me get started. She looked at me with a very serious look and said, you know this is an advanced class to take right? Looking at your grades I’m not sure this would fit you. She said I take my position here serious and try to make sure that I have the right students. So you know what I did? I said yes I know that this is an advanced class and my grades don’t reflect the type of student that I can be. My grade will show you how serious I am when I’m done with this class. She agreed to allow me to take the class even though she was hesitant. Well, needless to say I got an “A” in the class and proved her wrong! I knew I would do well because I enjoyed what I was learning. This started my obsession of the human body and after this one class I realized that health care was going to be my route.

I played baseball and basketball in high school and eventually played baseball in college. Before applying to schools for college I decided that I wanted to go into Athletic Training. I loved sports and this seemed like the right fit for me. I knew I didn’t want to go far, but I didn’t want to commute either. I had applied to 5 colleges and got accepted to 4 of them. Waynesburg University was at the top of my list. They had a great AT program, it was only about an hour and 15 minutes away and I was going to play baseball there. So I decided to accept my acceptance and move to Green County PA. This is also where I met my wife who is really responsible for my grades in college. If it wasn’t for her studying with me, I would have never made it through some of those classes I had to take!

I started baseball about 2 weeks after school started and it was great! It took up a lot of my free time, but I didn’t mind because I loved to play. The other part of my time was spent in class as well as trying to get hours in the clinic for AT. It turned out that in order to start doing anything with athletes you needed a minimum of 2,000 hours in the clinic observing! I thought wow! How am I going to find time for this? Well, after a long time thinking about what I wanted to do I made the decision to change my major. I know what you are thinking. You changed your major because you didn’t want to do the observation hours? I thought you wanted to do something in the health care field? Well, you have to realize that I was 18 at the time. My number 1 priority besides baseball was socializing and of course partying. Baseball took up most of my time, class took up the other and I wanted to have fun. Something had to give. So I switched to Biology (pre-physical therapy). This was kind of like a pre-med degree and gave me avenues to go to.

My freshman year anatomy teacher was Dr. Giles! He was an awesome teacher! He made things fun and easy to learn. And since I loved anatomy he made the class that much better. But Dr. Giles was not only an anatomy teacher…he was also a Chiropractor. I thought, this might be my calling. It just seemed like a good idea. He had great stories of how he made patients well and how he helped so many people. It got me thinking. Over the next few years I thought about what I wanted to do after college. I knew I was going to go on to grad school it was just a matter of where. In my second to last semester I had to do 200 observation hours in a health care facility. It could have been anywhere. They gave me a list to choose from. The list included chiropractic, medical doctor, surgical center, dentist and then physical therapy. At this point I had been tossing up chiropractic and physical therapy. I just was not sure about the differences. So I decided to go to a PT clinic. I had had PT in the past on 2 different occasions for my knee and my elbow. From what I remember about it I really enjoyed it and it helped get me back to playing baseball of course!

During my time at the clinic I met so many different people who had so many different injuries and pains. Some worse than others. I loved the fact that patients would come in with problems and leave able to do the things that they couldn’t before. Physical therapy was able to get patients back to doing what they loved. I wanted to do that! I wanted to be a helper, a healer and a person that people came to to get them well. Needless to say, after my 200 hours, which took me about 4 months to get, I was dead set on physical therapy school. I started applying right away. I had 3 choices for where I wanted to go. Chatham University was my first choice, Pitt was my second and Slippery Rock was my last. I remember where I was when I found out I got accepted. I was in Cocoa Beach Flordia on spring training for baseball. I called home daily to talk to my parents and my mom had said I got a letter from Chatham. I told her open it. She opened it and read that I had been accepted to Chatham University’s Physical Therapy program! And you can say the rest is history!

Here I am today 12 plus years in the field and I love being a helper, a healer and most importantly a person someone can come to to get them well! There is nothing like seeing someone come into the clinic miserable, visibly in pain, unable to do the things they love and on crutches. And months later seeing them smile because they are running, walking, playing with their kids and doing everything they love to do because of something that you were able to do for them! So to answer the question of do I like what I do? The answer will always be yes!

Advertisements

Injuries don’t just go away on their own

Contrary to popular belief, when you injure yourself and are experiencing pain, things don’t just go away on their own. Can you sense the sarcasm in that statement? Our bodies don’t work like that. My wife has been having some hip and buttock pain for the past few months. Initially she strained her hamstring trying to race my son…not a good idea! I treated her a few times at home and gave her some things to do on her own. Since then she has developed some hip pain which again I looked at and gave her a few things that would benefit her. Just last night she was telling me how these things were still bothering her. I proceeded to ask her how the things I told her to do were going. She said she was not doing them. WHAT???? I told her that she is no different than a lot of the patients I see. Thinking these things are just going to go away on their own without any type of treatment is a common problem that I run into.

Rest at times can help an injury. For instance, when you sprain your ankle, you need to rest it. If you continue to walk on it, the inflammation will never go away and the healing process will take twice as long. But as that inflammation starts to subside you need to load the tissue and test it to keep it’s strength and flexibility. If you were to just stay off of it and not walk on it, it will take twice as long and could turn into a chronic issue. The same goes for all injuries. Things just don’t go away.

Don’t say physical therapy and treatment didn’t work for you if you never put in the work. I get this statement a lot from patients who have had PT in the past. I went to PT for a week and it wasn’t helping so I stopped going. Or better yet, they had me do a few exercises and they didn’t work so I stopped doing them. I know we all just want things to go away as quickly as they came, but that’s just not going to happen. Healing, strength training and diet all take a certain amount of time to start working.

This isn’t a new concept. They all take work, effort and a certain amount of self discipline to see any type of results. I said this to my wife and I will say it to all of my patients. I don’t want to hear your complaints when you never took what I said seriously and did what I asked you to do. Only after you have worked hard and failed can you start to complain to me about what didn’t work. Then we will refocus and try something new, because you can’t just give up when one thing doesn’t work.

Should I have an MRI first?

When most people have an injury, especially if it involves the neck or low back, they feel they need an MRI right away. Also, if a person is ordered to come to physical therapy after their injury without getting an MRI or some sort of advanced diagnostic testing they question why. These patients are usually fearful and hesitant to start physical therapy for fear that something is being missed about their condition and they might get worse or injure themselves more.

Many studies have have been done to show if there is any value of ordering an MRI or advanced diagnostic test following an injury. Unless it is a very serious injury there is very little correlation between positive findings and the relationship to level of pain.

Physical therapy is always the best conservative approach to any type of musculoskeletal injury. Early intervention is key to the overall healing process. Starting treatment early reduces the risk of the injury turning chronic. This can also help save you and your insurance company time and money. Unnecessary testing can get very expensive and this is what we are trying to avoid.

As physical therapists we are trained in detailed evaluations. I can guarantee that my evaluation will be more detailed than just about any health care professional that you will see. Education is a big part of what we do during our evaluation. We are able to find “red flags” and if something doesn’t add up we refer you out to another health care professional. There are clinical tests that we perform to determine what tissues are effected and if those are positive then we take the next step into treating them.

Advanced diagnostic testing is not necessary to have before starting physical therapy treatment. Sometimes, waiting to get a test before starting can delay the healing process of your injury. Physical therapists evaluate and treat a wide variety of injuries and can help with pain reduction and prevention of future injuries.

What can a good night sleep do for me?

A good night sleep makes you feel so good. The importance of a good nights sleep goes beyond feeling good the next morning or relieving exhaustion. Getting the right amount of sleep is a huge part of having a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your mind, heart weight and more. So really what could an extra hour or two of sleep really do for you? If you are not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night here are some reasons why you should consider going to bed an hour earlier tonight.

Improved health:

Getting a good nights rest is not going to cure you from disease or even make you immune. But many studies show there is a link between not getting enough sleep and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, heart attacks and diabetes. These are usually after a longer period of time of not getting enough sleep. Shift work alone can cause interrupted sleep patterns causing you to lose sleep and in turn can cause health risks.

Less pain:

Getting the right amount of sleep helps you heal better and faster. Injuries take long enough to heal, why would you make it harder for your body to recover? I always tell my patients to try and find the most comfortable position to sleep in. If it’s in a recliner chair that’s fine. The more sleep you get the better you will heal and the less pain you will be in.

Better weight control:

Getting the right amount of sleep can help control your weight better than you think. If you wake up exhausted you are less likely to be physically active and go for that workout you planned on. You also might skip that healthy meal you wanted to make and grab a quick less healthy meal instead.

Lepton, the hormone that helps us feel full, is decreased in those that do not get enough sleep. So in turn those that do not get enough sleep tend to be more hungry than those that do.

Thinking more clear:

It’s a proven fact that if you get a good nights sleep you wake up refreshed and free of mind bogging information. Being rested clears the mind and helps with what you need to accomplish for the day. If you have that big test the next day, try to go to bed a bit earlier so that you can stay focused and rock it!

Reduces stress:

Sleep helps lower your blood pressure and stress hormones. Sleep helps encourage our bodies to relax. You know how it feels after a good nights sleep right? You wake up refreshed, in a good mood and ready to start your day. This is all due to decreased stress levels.

These are just a few reasons that an adequate amount of sleep can help your body and your mind. I encourage you to try and at least go to bed an hour earlier than normal each night this week. It will be difficult at first, but once you see the results you will see the benefits that it can have. Sleep should become a priority and can make a huge difference in the quality of life that you have.

My experience with custom orthotics, and will they work for you?


A while back I wrote a blog about how even physical therapists need treatment sometimes. I went over my experiences with a foot problem that I developed over a few summers ago. I wanted to do a follow up post on my current situation and how it has taught me something that I teach my patients on a daily basis.

To summarize my experience I started to get some foot discomfort in the fall of 2015 after a long season of tournament baseball. I used to wear spikes when I coached because it made it easier to do things with the players. That Thanksgiving I played in a Turkey bowl and wore those same spikes and the next day I could barely walk. It took about 2-3 months of self treatment and taping methods to finally get some significant relief. It would still bother me from time to time, but I could deal with it. Well, summer came in 2016 and I decided to get a new pair of spikes thinking that it was just the brand the they were a few years old. At first it felt fine, but as the season wore on I could feel my foot slowly hurting again. I finally just started wearing regular running shoes and that seemed to help, but never completely. I finally bit the bullet and went to see a foot specialist. I was diagnosed with nothing more than over pronation of my forefoot and in turn my arch was collapsing causing significant pain. This is honestly nothing that I already didn’t know. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t have a stress fracture. To my relief I was recommended to get custom orthotics done so I obliged. I didn’t receive a call for a few months and by that time my pain was gone so I never called back.

Fast forward to April 2017 and baseball season had been in full swing since Thanksgiving indoors of course here in Western PA. We were just getting outside and I started wearing my spikes again…bad move. They hurt so bad that I decided to get some turf shoes most coaches wear. I also decided to call the foot specialist again to pick up my orthotics. I made an appointment and within 10 minutes of being there I was walking out with orthotics in my shoes. The initial feeling was a little different. I wasn’t sure what to think really. I just knew that I needed to give them a shot. I always tell my patients with any type of change in footwear whether it’s new shoes or orthotics do it in steps. So I wore them for an hour for the first week. Just one hour a day, then bumped it up to 3 hours and so on. I now wear them all day when I’m at work because I am on my feet most of the day. I have to say that since wearing them I have not experienced foot pain at all!! It’s amazing what a difference they do make and I’m very happy I made the decision to get them.

My advice to my patients with foot problems is always try orthotics, especially if they have a flat foot. I usually tell them to try an over the counter version to see. Some insurances don’t cover them and it can be expensive. So before they go full out I tell them to go the cheaper route first. Now that I have had such a positive experience with orthotics it will drive me to be more aware of patients that will benefit from this.

If you have any questions about your foot problem or any musculoskeletal issue that you may be experiencing please don’t hesitate to contact me! 

nicksivrichpt@gmail.com

Can smoking affect the way my body heals itself?

Are you a smoker? Have you recently had surgery or an injury that just wasn’t healing in a normal time frame? Smoking might be the culprit. Just about everyone on earth knows the affects of cigarette smoke and how it can cause certain ailments and diseases. An estimated 15.1 % of U.S. adults aged 18 years or older smoke cigarettes. More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking related disease (2). But do people know the affect cigarette smoke can have on the healing process in the body? What ways does it delay healing time and why it can take so much longer than most.

Deprives the body of Oxygen:

The air is filled with Oxygen and we breath it in all day long. Oxygen is needed for our body to function as well as heal tissue that is wounded. On a more scientific level, cigarette smoke causes many changes to the way our bodies handle oxygen. Hemoglobin is a molecule that transports oxygen throughout the body. Cigarette smoke affects it’s ability to carry the amount it normally needs to carry at one time. The blood vessels in the body also become more narrow not allowing the oxygen and hemoglobin to get to your healing tissue.(1)

Cigarette smoke thickens your blood as well. This makes it more difficult for the blood to run smoother throughout our bodies. Just think of it this way, you have car carrier ( Hemoglobin) carrying 8 cars (oxygen) a piece on a 4 lane highway (artery/veins) at an average speed of 65 MPH. Now it starts to snow (chemicals in cigarettes) and those car carriers can’t go through the storm so you have to get a tow truck that carries 2 cars a piece now. Your speed has now decreased to 45 MPH. Less cars will get to the dealership (healing tissue) and it will take twice as long to get there. With a decreased amount of oxygen, the tissues have a difficult time healing in the allotted time.

Weakens the Immune system:

In addition, cigarette smoke has been shown to make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection after surgery. The chemicals in cigarettes prevent neutrophils, infection fighting cells, from working properly. Neutrophils are our guards that create a safe environment by getting rid of things that don’t belong in our body, such as bacteria. This in turn causes a greater risk to develop infection.(2)

There is some good news from all of this though. Research has shown that quitting smoking before surgery reduces your risk of complications. It is very difficult to stop smoking, but even a 4-6 week period shows a dramatic decrease in risk factors. Now you might say what if I had a fracture and needed surgery immediately? I don’t have time to quit. Quitting for 4-8 weeks while your fracture is healing has also shown great benefits in the healing process.

Quitting smoking or any nicotine product is a very difficult process. I know from experience. I chewed snuff for 14 years. I tried to quit on multiple occasions and nothing seemed to work, but then my son was born! I made a promise to myself that I would quit for him and for my family. 9 years later I don’t even miss it! In fact it kind of makes me sick to even smell it. Sometimes the big picture just makes sense.

References: 

1. http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/how-to/foot-health/Pages/How-Smoking-Affects-Healing.aspx

2. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/adult_data/cig_smoking/
Follow me on Facebook

Stress got you crazy? Try these tips to help

We all have stress in our lives and we would be lying to ourselves if we said we didn’t. With all that goes on during your daily routine it’s hard to stay away from stress. Our jobs, responsibilities, parents, kids and families can all throw us through a whirlwind and then the stress begins. You start asking yourself questions like: How am I going to get this project done by the deadline? How am I going to get the kids dinner, their homework done and get them to both of their games at separate fields? How am I going to check on mom, get to my meeting and try to spend time with my family? All of these questions would cause stress. I deal with things like this all the time. I stress about getting out of work on time just so I can get a workout in and get home in time for the kids to get off the bus. I stress about how I am going to fit patients in when I only have limited space at my clinic. I stress about when I get slow at work and what I can do to get better. I decided to put together a small list of things that you can do to try and decrease your stress levels. I do some of them on a regular basis to try and keep myself grounded.

Exercise: Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. As we exercise we release endorphines, which are the bodies natural pain medication hormones. When they are released it makes us feel better, improves our mood and increases our pleasure. This, in turn is what causes us to feel so good after a workout.

Socialize: When we are stressed sometimes we just want to be alone, but socializing with people can help as well. Talking to someone and venting is sometimes all we need. It’s also good to talk about other things to try and get your mind off of your current situation.

Read: Reading is one of the best ways to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds. Research has found that this is one of the best ways on top of walking, listening to music or having a cup of tea.

Meditate: Sometimes you just need to go to that other place that makes you happy. Meditation is a skill, but when done properly can take you into a whole new world of being happy.

Breathe deeply: Deep breathing exercises are always good to try and relax yourself. Have you ever seen the movie the Karate Kid? Mr. Miyagi had Daniel doing this to stay focused and not lose his cool. This actually does work and if you do it often enough it will become a habit. If combined with meditation it is very powerful.

Listen to music: Listening to your favorite music always takes your mind off of things. There is something about that beat! Or when your favorite jam comes on you just want to rock out! Don’t lie, you were just rocking out in your car the other day and got caught singing at a red light. I did! Seriously, I was at a red light just belting out some Kenny Chesney and I looked over and the lady was just laughing. It was cool because I probably made her day!

Mow the lawn: This is one of my favorite things to do when I am stressed! I love to mow the lawn! Anyone that knows me will tell you the same thing. I put my headphones on and drive. I like to make perfect stripes in different directions each week. It’s kind of like a picture that I am making. It makes me feel good when I’m done and look at how nice it looks.

Drink a beer or two: Now I’m not saying go get smashed, but drinking a beer or two can take your mind off things as well as help you relax. It also brings in the social aspect and helps you let loose from time to time. This is not recommended to do a lot, but every now and then you just need to enjoy yourself.

So, the next time you are feeling that stress start to build up try a few of these tips. I guarantee one will work for you. Enjoy, and as always don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.

Things I’ve learned from a man I never met


Actions speak louder than words! This is a statement that I have heard all of my life. I have even said it to people myself. When I was younger I really didn’t grasp the concept behind it. I mean, I would hear my parents tell me that, or a teacher tell me that, but I never fully understood what it meant. Your actions are so powerful! What you do on a day to day basis defines you as a person. How you do something, when you do it and if you come through with it makes all the difference. What good is it to sit and talk about all of the things you want to do in life but never actually do them? You can have all the goals in the world, but if you never strive to accomplish any of them where does that leave you? When I was younger I would always hear grown ups say, “If I knew then what I know now boy would I be better off!” Or, “ I wish I would have…” You get the picture right? Actions speak louder than words! Say that to yourself over and over until you truly understand it.

I go to the gym 4 days a week and I see a plethora of different people there. Some people come with their husband or wife. Some are friends that get together, some are by themselves. I even see people that come in just to use the tanning beds. I will see the usual suspects because I am very regimented and I go at the same time practically every day. Sometimes I will see different faces. Some people are just there to socialize and others are all business. For the past year I have seen this guy that caught my attention. I see him almost every time I am there. Every time I see him he is working! I would say that he probably works harder than anyone I see at the gym. It’s not because he wants to…he has to! The man that I am referring to has a neurological condition. I’m not exactly sure what, but it seems as though he was born with this disorder or he had some sort of traumatic injury. I have seen when he gets dropped off in the front of the gym. It takes him at least 5 minutes to get from the car to the front door…and it’s only 10’ away! I have watched what he does over the past year of seeing him enter the building. He first walks from the front of the gym to the back which I would guess to be 100-125’. It can take him 16 minutes! I know because that is how long it takes me to run 2 miles on the treadmill. It takes him that long to walk 125 feet, but he does it every single time! He will find a bench to sit on and start doing leg exercises on his own. Exercises similar to what I would give to my patients. I watch him walk from machine to machine struggling at times because of fatigue. He gets frustrated, but he does it. And if he has to use the restroom forget it! There goes at least another 20-25 minutes round trip! This man has to deal with this on a day to day basis and he is killing it!

Actions speak so much louder than words can! Seeing this man on a daily basis focused, fighting and striving to make himself the healthiest version of himself is so inspiring! He is someone we should all think of when we decide we want to make an excuse not to do something. Do you think he wants to go to the gym every day? Do you think he enjoys the fact that it takes him quadruple the time to do something as it does someone else? I am not trying to speak for him, but I sure as hell wouldn’t enjoy that!  

The next time you are having a bad day and just want to give up I want you to think about this post and this man. I know that every time I want to skip out on the gym I think of this guy! I know he will be there no matter how he feels. I’m sure if he doesn’t go he will pay for it. This is what helps him get through his day. This is what keeps him going and makes him functional. His actions speak loud! I know because they have impacted me, and I have never even met him!

Plan on starting a new fitness program this year? Here are some tips to pick the right one and stay on track.

It’s a new year and now you feel it’s finally time to get your butt in gear and work on shedding that unwanted poundage from the holidays. The entire holiday season you said to yourself: I will start that program on the first of the year. I can eat a few extra cookies I am starting next month. Well, now it’s next month and you don’t know where to start. You see friends and colleagues on Facebook checking in at crossfit, Planet Fitness, LA Fitness, the YMCA or deciding to let Shawn T torture them doing Insanity Max 30. All these programs and fitness centers can be confusing and intimidating, especially if you are new to this type of activity. I am hear to tell you that you are not alone. I deal with patients on a daily basis that are afraid to do simple exercises in a room by themselves, let alone at a gym. It’s normal to feel this way. It’s also normal to feel like a slob from not controlling yourself over the Christmas break. Trust me I have been there and it is not a good feeling. I wanted to put together a small list of ways to pick a program that you are comfortable with to start your fitness journey.

What is your fitness level?

This is a very important question to answer. Most that are starting a new program for their New Years resolution are novice. This will drive you to what type of program you want to get into. If you are a beginner, you are going to want to start off with some low impact exercises as well as some light cardio. You don’t want to get into something like Insanity Max 30 or Crossfit right out of the gait. If it starts out too difficultly, the chances of continuing the program are very slim. If you start out with something that you can get small wins quickly, you are more likely to continue.

Have you ever purchased or participated in a program before? Why did you stop?

If you have participated in a program in the past, whether it was a DVD, Crossfit, your own workout at the gym, spin class whatever. How did it go? Was it too difficult? Did you finish it? If not why did you quit? All these answers to these questions will drive you to decide if you want to try and follow a program similar to others in the past. If you have done something in the past and you enjoyed it I would recommend to do that again to build up momentum.

How would you characterize your eating habits?

A lot of people feel that they need to workout 7 days a week to keep their ideal weight. Well, I have news for you…THAT IS TOTAL BS! If you are using working out as your primary way to lose weight you will lose your mind! Eating well, and eating clean is a big portion in weight loss and control. Have you ever heard the expression you are what you eat? That statement could not be more true! If you are stuffing your face with food heavy in sugar, carbs and processed garbage you are never going to win the weight loss battle. You can work out until you are blue in the face, but if you do not change your eating habits you will lose.

Do you have a specific goals?

This is another important question. What are your specific goals? Is it weight loss? Is it to get stronger? Is it to get those abs that you always wanted? The sooner you create your goals the easier it will be to choose a program suited for you. Again if it is weight loss, changing your eating habits is so much more important than trying to get to the gym 6-7 days a week.

Do you currently have any medical conditions that would prevent you from doing specific activities?

Do you have back pain? Do you have issues with other body parts? Are you a diabetic? Do you have problems breathing or issues with balance? I would recommend that if you have any of these issues to contact your Physical Therapist to first get evaluated to see if you would benefit from starting a new program. This way you are being seen by an expert in musculoskeletal problems while you are starting this program. Then you can be transitioned right into a program designed by your Physical Therapist. It’s also always a good idea to check with your Primary Care Physician to make sure you are ready to start something new.

Change things up so that you do not get bored.

Once you find and figure out what is best for you don’t continue to do the same thing over and over again. Change up your workout routine. Make if fun. Make it challenging sometimes and easy other times. I try to change up what I am doing every 3-4 weeks. Sometimes I just go for a run. Sometimes I just do strength training. And sometimes I do both. I might get bored and decide to do a Shaun T workout with my wife…and it sucks! But afterwards it feels great! Maybe to a palates or spin class with a friend. Maybe go for a brisk walk or run. Remember something is better than nothing at all. And my best advice to you all while on this journey is find a PT…and by that I mean a Physical Therapist!

Don’t say I can’t!

I can’t…I hate those words! My kids tell me this all the time and I just laugh. I remind them that there are some things in life that we can’t do. Examples are: walk around naked in public, fly by jumping off of something, bring people back from the dead, stopping yourself from getting old. Things like that are things that we can’t do. Well, I guess anyone can walk around public naked, but it is strongly discouraged! Most of what we feel and say that we can’t do are just things that we don’t want to do. When we say we can’t do something are we really positive that it cannot be done by us or are we just scared? Maybe we are just being lazy and feel this is a good excuse? Maybe we are afraid to fail and feel we don’t want to let people down? Or we feel that if we end up doing it we are not sure what will come next? Either way, I can’t stand when someone tells me they can’t do something. 

Just the other day I was working with a patient. He has a confidence problem and he was very depressed when he first started. His first session he came in in a wheel chair. I told him we are going to walk back to the room so that I can evaluate you. He said “ I can’t!” I just had surgery! I smiled and said so what…you are going to walk today. It took us 5-10 minutes to get back to the room which is only about 30 feet away, but he did it! We did it! A few weeks later I told him I wanted him to start putting more weight into his leg while he walked with his crutches. Again he said “I can’t!” And again I smiled and said let’s go! He did it! This same patient came in a few weeks later still using his crutches. I again said now we are going to get rid of those crutches and we are going to walk without them. Can you guess what he said? “ I can’t” I might tear my ACL again! We did it though and he thanked me for it. He has since broken every barrier that you would expect and more. He still gives me trouble from time to time, but he doesn’t say I can’t very often anymore. He thanks me each day he is here and tells me how much I have helped him. It makes me feel good to hear that I have changed someone’s perspective of things.

In the past I had used those words quite a bit. I can’t do that because…I always had an excuse. If someone asked me to speak in front of a group of people I would say I can’t. If someone wanted me to work out with them to train for something I would say I can’t. If it made me uncomfortable or I felt like I just didn’t want to do it, I would come up with any excuse as to why I was unable to do it and say I can’t! I finally realized that that is no way to go through life. It is not acceptable to be average and lazy! You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable to be able to grow. It’s the only way you are going to see a change.

I feel that when you are faced with something in life that is difficult the first thing that we want to say is that we can’t do it. We don’t even have to think about it. Those words are mostly an excuse to get out of something. It’s a way to say that I’m too lazy to try. I would rather take the easy way out than actually try to do the right thing. So the next time you are faced with a situation that is easy to use those words, think about what it is that you are trying to do and change it to I will!

Pre-register for Smart Success PT! Be the first to know!
Smart Success PT pre-register